Both Evangelize to Plant and Plant and to Evangelize
Evangelize to Plant
Ideally a church planting team moving to a new area begins with lots of personal relational evangelism. They meet, love, serve, and share the good news with neighbors, those they work with and any they can meet in the course of life. If team members have children then contacts from the school and extra- curricular activities, such as sports provide great opportunities to establish friendships.
Another productive way to meet lots of people in the area you hope to plant a church in is door to door listening surveys.
Plant to Evangelize
In addition to personal evangelism the planting team also plans and conducts events to draw the unchurched together. These events may serve a need like parenting skills. They may help neighbors meet each other through evens like backyard BBQ’s. The planting team may also find events that directly teach practical Biblical principles are also productive.
In many place Sunday services, especially on big days like Easter, or opening days of a new church may be draw some people that God has ripened for harvest. In an area like the GTA it takes wisely inviting many to find the few unreached people that are ready to try out an church service.
In general planters and their teams need to do everything they can to find and reach God prepared persons of peace during the early years of the new church. This includes both friendship evangelism, servant evangelism as well as larger group event evangelism. Do not settle for just one strategy. Jesus did both.
Another considerations are the calling of person doing the evangelism and stage of church. During the early stages church planters does lots of all types of evangelism, as the church develops he puts more and more of his time into equipping his church members to work together to evangelize.
A mistake I’ve made and have commonly seen other planters make is spending so much time investing in befriending and serving a few seekers that they did not have time to
…search for those who are ripe,
…create events that gather the unreached to hear the gospel or
…equip members to reach people
Think both/and not either/or!